What advantages or disadvantages do you see in the growth of Maine tourism from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s?
Starting with its parochial exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the State of Maine trumpeted its natural geographical attributes and quaint, scenic towns along its coast to attract tourists and the dollars such visitors pour into a community's coffers. Maine's fishing and hunting industries proved idyllic backdrops for the lush natural beauty the region offered, and tourism became an important source of revenue for the state's treasury. In that sense, the advantages of the growth of tourism in Maine were clear. Tourism was and remains a major financial instrument for those localities fortunate enough to have what others want to see and experience. The state's official marketing phrase -- "Maine: The Way Life Should Be" -- emphasized the quiet, informal environment that naturally accompanied the fishing industry that gravitated to its long shoreline that provided access to productive fishing grounds in the Gulf of Maine and that sustained the commercial lobster and swordfish industries. Combined with the revenue generated by the nearby Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the tourism drawn to Maine's bucolic coastline became an important component of its overall financial well-being.
The disadvantages associated with the growth in tourism are both cultural and environmental. Increases in tourism, especially that which accompanied the growth of the automobile industry and the absorption into American culture of the automobile, brought with it a gradual deterioration in the quality of the lives of those inhabitants of Maine whose livelihoods were not directly linked to tourist traffic, such as commercial fishermen. The shopkeepers, hoteliers, and restaurants that invariably proliferate to exploit tourism altered the landscape and cheapened the region's natural character. Eventually, local infrastructure had to grow to accompany the growth in tourism which cost both dollars and environmental destruction, as forests were damaged to allow for road construction. Culturally, the growth in tourism was linked to the environmental effects in that the small-town way of life enjoyed by most inhabitants. Mass tourism changes a locale fundamentally, both its character and its physical structure, and those changes meant the elimination in some cases of ways of life that had been enjoyed for generations.